Christine Great information. Thank you! I’m currently scheduled for 2 consultations to have my tummy tuck done, and no website that I have ever been to has answered my drainage questions like you have. Thanks again! I’m going to keep your site info. in case I have more questions in the next few weeks. Christine, I’ll be happy to answer any questions if I can. Going to you first tummy tuck consultations can be an exciting and scary. You may want to bring with you a list of written questions to ask the surgeon or his nurse when you are there. Some of the questions that I asked can be found here. They may give you some ideas for additional questions to ask. Good luck with your consultations. Tanner
The following comment from our forum is from a woman who had a tummy tuck performed two weeks ago and still has her surgical drains installed. She thinks that is too long and that too much fluid and blood is being drained.
Date: 04/28/2010 Submitted by: Alicia
I had a tummy tuck done two weeks ago, and my drain is still water and blood my doctor thinks this is normal, but I don’t. I think that that is to long a time to keep a drain on and the blood context is too much. Please help!
Date: 04/28/2010 Submitted by: Tanner
My tummy tuck drains were removed 6 days after surgery. Two weeks does seem like a long time, but I would think your doctor would know best as to what is normal and what isn’t. I did a quick internet search and found the following web site which indicates that some tummy tuck surgical drains stay in for as long as 15 days or more so it seems that your situation is not too uncommon.
“Tummy Tuck Drain Removal”
How long you will have the drains in place depends on how much drainage you have. This is one reason you need to keep track of the amount that collects in the bulbs each day. The surgical drains may be removed in as little as 3 to 5 days or as long as 15 days or more, depending upon the amount of fluid you are draining.
Cindy Ok, so I had my tummy tuck on May 12, 2010 (almost a month ago now) and I still have the drainage tube in on the right side!!! I’m so frustrated right now, it hurts so badly just sitting with this thing in me!! It stings so bad and it is so uncomfortable, the output is at about 30 cc’s but I really want it taken out immediately!! Also, every time I tell my doctor about something I had read that is a warning sign and should tell him about, he acts like it’s no big deal and it makes me look like I am freaking out over every little thing, so what do I do?? Sorry, Response for this message is missing – Tanner
The following question from our forum is from a woman who has surgical drains from her tummy tuck operation that were removed too soon according to her doctor. Her doctor’s medical assistant is the one who removed them.
Date: 06/12/2010 Submitted by: Michele
I had my right JP drainage tube taken out on Monday June 7, 2010 and my doctor was very upset with me because he thinks it was too soon to have it taken out (the medical assistant took it out that day and he wasn’t in the office) he is afraid as well as I am that the fluid will build up and I will have to get needles stuck in me to get the remaining fluid drained. Is there any way I can just drink a ton of water every day and keep up with exercise and have the remaining fluid flush itself out without having any problems with the fluid building up inside me? I had the drainage tube on the right side in me for two days short of 4 weeks so the medical assistant thinks it was ok for it to be removed but I am still scared to death that it was too soon to be taken out. I had a tummy tuck. Cindy
Date: 06/12/2010 Submitted by: Tanner
The doctor shouldn’t be upset with you, if anyone, he should be upset with the medical assistant who took it out. I don’t know, but I would doubt that drinking lots of water and exercising would do what you want in a timely manner or your doctor would have instructed you so.
It sounds like you don’t relish the idea getting stuck with needles to remove the remaining fluid from your body. I had it done and it is not as bad as it sounds. I documented my experience with the needle on this page http://www.tummytuckformen.com/tummy-tuck-abdominoplasty-after-surgery-recovery.html (ref date 12/19/07). The good thing about this is that the area where he will probably stick the needle is still very numb. When he did it to me I did not feel anything. No pain at all. If you have a fear of needles, I would suggest when you go to your appointment tell the doctor that you don’t want to see the needle and be sure to turn your head away when he brings it out. Most likely the fear of the needle (the worrying) is going to cause you more pain than the needle itself. I would try to schedule your next appointment as soon as possible just to get it over with. The less you think about it the better. Good luck. Best regards,
Hi, thanks so much for responding back to me, because I’ve been on a few different sites and have e-mailed questions and gotten no response. So, I was told by my surgeon that if my stomach appears distended and sticking out gradually over time, not overnight then that is how I would know if my stomach/abdominal area is still carrying fluid and it’s building up. So far the stomach area looks to be normal, however, embarrassing as it is to say, it looks as if my pubic area is possibly distended because when I look in the mirror at my side profile it seems to be noticeably sticking out more than it should, my sister though says it is probably just still swollen and it should be fine, but I am not sure, so anyway just wondering if you have heard of anyone getting their pubic area drained after this surgery?? Also, in regards to your comment on the needles being stuck in me to drain the excess fluid if necessary, well yes I would definitely look the other way, but unfortunately my numbness is wearing off slowly but surely so I am thinking by the time I go in for any draining it will be hurting, so I guess I will just take a pain pill before hand just in case and have someone drive me to the appointment. I must say you are very lucky and blessed to have had such a great recovery and especially a pain free recovery, because I can honestly say this is the most pain I have endured in my entire life and it is the worst decision I have made in my entire life as of right now. This has been a horrendous and horrible experience for me personally so I am just praying every day that after a month now of recovery that I will soon be feeling normal again. I have the unfortunate experience of dealing with my incision opening up last week on June 7, 2010 which was over 3 weeks after my surgery, it opened up not too much a few inches or so right where my belly button is at, so I have to get it packed with gauze dipped in peroxide twice a day, my sister bless her heart has been doing that for me, so this has been a horrible experience for me, so I am glad you had a great experience with this surgery because I sure didn’t.
I would vote with you sister on “still swollen and should be fine”. I have not heard of anyone getting their pubic area drained after this type of surgery. You could probably compare it to a guy’s perspective from reading what I went through “down there”. I copied it from my page http://www.tummytuckformen.com/tummy-tuck-abdominoplasty-pain-swelling-scars.html as follows.
SWELLING IN THE GROIN AREA.
At one of my pre Tummy Tuck meetings, the nurse make a brief comment that there may be some swelling in the lower areas (I forget how she actually put it) but I gave it no thought. I didn’t know how “low” she meant. Now I do. Apparently the body fluids that were not drained off by the surgical drains made their way “downhill” towards the groin area causing noticeable swelling down there. An amusing thought came to me – “I paid $11,000 for a Tummy Tuck and got a “male enhancement” thrown in for free. Unfortunately it only lasted a month, then the swelling went down and everything was “back to normal”.
Comparing you experience with mine, I guess I was pretty lucky with my entire tummy tuck and recovery. Good luck.
Ok, what a relief that is to hear!! Thanks again so much Tanner for responding back to me. Have a great day and enjoy the rest of the Summer!!
The following question from our forum is from a woman who has surgical drains from her tummy tuck operation that are coming out by themselves. Each movement she makes causes them to wiggle out a little bit more and she is wondering what to do if they come completely out.
Date: 06/19/2010 Submitted by: Michele
I am 10 day post op full abdominoplasty. So far so good except these drain tubes giving me fits. The right one is out to point of no more bulb suction and about 2 inches white portion of tube shows and I can see the sutures. I go Mon to doctor to take it out. Is it possible it will keep working itself out and if so how do I take care of treating the hole left behind? It seems that every movement I make is causing it to come out another half inch and pushing it back in I know is not a good idea. Michele
Date: 06/19/2010 Submitted by: Tanner
I can’t give medical advice but since you only have one day until the doctor takes it out why not try to prevent further movement by:
– covering it with your compression garment to secure it in place.
– secure it to your compression garment with a combination of tape/pins
As far as the “hole left behind”, if I remember correctly after the surgeon removed my drain tubes all he did was apply gauze and a little pressure to the hole to seep up any remaining residual fluids then covered it with new gauze and bandage. Over time it heals. I don’t remember an “open hole” ever being a problem. Good luck.
Thanks so much Tanner….actually it is the insertion point that was almost out and I could not really secure that flopping around tube without horrific pubic pain and although I did try with nylons day before…I think that was worse when going to the bathroom. Nonetheless….this tube did wiggle itself out Saturday when I stood up off the commode and doc said he would reinforce the other one Monday….although I would really like it out!!! since I have travel plans on Tuesday…..and the ‘hole’ left behind or that little slit….yes, I did just cover with a dry 4 x 4 and very little seepage and doesn’t seem to be staying in my system either….lol….so….I will be post 11 days tomorrow and normal drain tube time seems to tell us 5 to 15 days….and drainage is yellowy/clear as it should be. Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. Michele
The following question from our forum is from a man who is having problems with his surgical drain following a tummy tuck operation. The drainage fluid is not going into the drain tubing and bulb like it is suppose to but rather coming out of the hole where the surgeon inserted the tubing into his skin.
Date: 07/01/2010 Submitted by: Chris
I had a mini complex abdominoplasty yesterday and had one drain put in. Almost all of my draining has come from tube site in body, what a mess. Doctor didn’t seem alarmed but I don’t see anybody else having this problem. Chris
Date: 07/01/2010 Submitted by: Tanner
I don’t understand your problem. What is a mess? What makes it complex? Tanner
Complex? Who knows? That’s what doc called it. The mess is from the drainage coming out of the drainage tube site, from my skin, only a few drops in actual drain. I have been shoving towels in my shorts. No way to measure it. Maybe he called it complex because I have a kidney transplant inside left hipbone. Chris
I see your point. That really would be messy and very inconvenient. Changing out fluid soaked bandages or towels for days or even weeks would “get old” real fast. I haven’t heard of anyone else having this problem either. I don’t know how often this happens. My drain tube penetration sites were nice and dry. It sounds like the suction end of the drain tube is not located at the source of the fluid build-up. Of course it is still very early after your surgery. Things may change. If it continues for a while like this and the drain collects little or no fluid, why not ask your surgeon if it would be advisable for him to “pull out” an inch or two of the drain tube in an effort to reposition the suction end in order to find the right spot and allow it to work properly. If I remember correctly I had about 5 inches of tubing inside of me when my surgeon removed it. The good thing is that the fluid is coming out of your body. Good luck. Tanner
Thanks for responding. I go back on Monday (yes, a holiday) for pain pump to be removed so I’ll ask then. Meanwhile I am embarrassed to admit I went and bought Depends!!!!!! Chris
The following question from our forum is from a woman whose mother had a Tummy Tuck operation 6 years ago and now is experiencing pain and complications in the area where her surgical drains were inserted.
Date: 08/19/2010 Submitted by: Juliann
After 6 years of having a tummy tuck operation, my mother, 67, is experiencing severe complications: not eating regularly, losing weight, chronic constipation pain, especially on the right side of her stomach where the drainage tubes were placed (stabbing, movement, burning, bloating, pain). What can be done to ease her pains and who should she seek help from at this point?. we’ve taken her to every doctor possible… Juliann, Sorry to hear about your mother’s problems.
Date: 08/19/2010 Submitted by: Tanner
Sorry to hear about your mother’s problems. I have never heard of anyone having complications from a tummy tuck operation 6 years later. You state that you have taken her to every doctor possible. What do they say? Do they think it is related to the surgical drains or a complication from the tummy tuck? Or do they think it is something else? The only thing that I can advise you to do is keep trying different doctors. There has to be someone out there who can figure it out. Good luck.
The following question from our forum is from a woman who was wondering if tummy tuck surgical drains hurt, how long the drains have to stay in and how difficult it was to go to the bathroom with the surgical drains.
Date: 08/20/2010 Submitted by: Dominique
I am interested in getting a tummy tuck. I was wondering if the drains hurt? is it hard to go to the bathroom? How long does the drains stay inside you? Do you have to get cut again to get the drains out? Dominique
Date: 08/20/2010 Submitted by: Tanner
I found the surgical drains to be an interesting part of the tummy tuck experience. I didn’t know anything about them or what to expect before my operation. When I woke up in the recovery room, THERE THEY WERE. Two of them, “plugged into” my body a few inches below my waist.
But to answer your questions, no the surgical drains didn’t hurt at all. At my skin’s surface where they penetrated my body I couldn’t feel anything because that area was numb even long after the drains were removed. I also could not feel the 5 inches or so of tubing that was inside my body. I didn’t know how much of it they put in or where it went.
You might want to check out my surgical drains page http://www.tummytuckformen.com/tummy-tuck-abdominoplasty-surgical-drains.html
and read the feedback comments at the bottom of the page. At least one person experienced some pain with her surgical drains.
Going to the bathroom after the tummy tuck operation and with the surgical drains was no problem for me. You just have to move a lot slower and make sure you have something to hang onto like the nearby tub or sink vanity to steady as you position yourself.
How long do the surgical drains stay inside you? That changes with each individual, the degree of surgery he/she had and the rate of drainage after the surgery. I had to monitor and empty my surgical drains every four hours. When the drainage rate slowed to below 30cc’s over a 24-hour period for 2 consecutive days, then the drains could be removed, but that was up to the discretion of the surgeon. My surgical drains stayed in for 6 days.
Getting the surgical drains removed was easy and there was no “cutting” involved (except for the snipping of a few stitches with a scissor that held the surgical drains in place). At one of my follow-up visits my surgeon simply put one of his hands against my body at the insertion point as a brace and gently pulled the drain tube out. It only took a second. I was surprised to see about 4 – 5 inches of tubing slide easily out of my body. It didn’t hurt at all and there was little or no bleeding.
I hope this answers your questions. Best of luck.
The following question from our forum is from a woman who had a tummy tuck 17 days ago and is wondering if it is safe to remove her tummy tuck surgical drains.
Date: 08/28/2010 Submitted by: Baby
I had my abdominoplasty & herniolasty done on 11/8/2010 ie. 17 days now. The drain collected still is 22cc. Can the drain be removed now? Will it get accumulated if the drain pipe is removed? Baby
Date: 08/28/2010 Submitted by: Tanner
I imagine that you are getting pretty tired of lugging the drain around and having to empty it over and over. What a chore! 17 days is a long time to have a surgical drain sticking out of your body.
I assume the 22 cc drain rate you refer to is for a 24 hour period. From what I understand, 30 cc per day and below is a guideline that a surgeon uses to determine when to remove surgical drains after a tummy tuck. Since you had a herniolasty as well, perhaps there are additional considerations.
When does your surgeon say the drain can come out? He is the only one that can (or should) remove it or tell you when it is safe to remove it. Even though you are tired of having it still in there, the longer it’s there the better. It’s there for a reason – reduce risk of infection, prevent other complications such as seroma or fistula (an unnatural connection between internal body parts such as an organ, intestine or vessel usually caused by injury or surgery).
I am not sure what you mean by “Will it get accumulated if the drain pipe is removed?”. If you are asking if the fluid will start to accumulate and pool in your body, then that will depend on your body and it’s ability to absorb the fluid. Your doctor has the training and experience to best make that determination.
The following post from our forum is from a woman who had an operation that removed fat and skin only from her body and has to go back to the doctor every few days to get fluids drained. She is wondering where the fluid is coming from and why it is doing that.
Date: 01/07/2011 Submitted by: AdelineWhere Does Surgery Drain Fluid Come From?
I had a domplasty when they only cut my skin off, and some fat. Why is it always filling up with fluid, and every 2 days my doctor drains a lot of fluid out, why is it doing that. Where is this fluid coming from?
Date: 01/07/2011 Submitted by: Tanner
I am not a doctor and can’t give you a good medical explanation. I tried to find the answer on the internet but finding a simple answer to your question is not as easy as you would think it would be. The following explanation is what I pieced together from my research. It may not be 100% correct.
Anyway, as I understand it during surgery the surgeon cuts through skin, tissue and fat. These may contain small blood vessels that are also cut or ruptured which lead to a certain amount of internal bleeding (inside the body when blood leaks from blood vessels or organs).
After the operation is over and the surgical wound is sutured up the blood, pus and other body fluids have no place to go so they pool or gather in certain areas of the body (usually in locations lower than the surgical site because of gravity and liquids flow downhill).
It takes a while for the ruptured blood vessels to heal. The length of time varies with the operation, the health of the patient, the extent of the surgery as well as other factors. As the healing continues the amount of drainage should diminish.
In many cases surgical drains are used to remove the fluid from the body. Here are some more sources relating to surgical drains and healing.
Surgical Drains Surgical Incisions Infections Scars
Your doctor is removing the fluid to reduce the risk of complications after surgery such as a seroma or fistula. If not removed, this fluid could become a source of infection. Removing the fluid may also make you more comfortable.
By the way, I have never heard of a domplasty before. I am not familiar with that type of operation to remove skin and fat. Do you mean dermoplasty? Did you have the operation to remove excess skin from weight loss?
I hope this answered your questions.